San Francisco may not have been first to jump on the wave of authentically Neapolitan, wood-fired pizzas (that would be New York circa five years ago), but we will be the first in the world to boast a custom-designed container truck with a real, wood-fired, Neapolitan oven on board. Del Popolo, the new mobile pizza operation from former Flour + Water pizzaiolo Jonathan Darsky, is the product of over a year of permit woes, custom design, and very expensive construction, and it’s quietly soft-launching this week in preparation for a public launch next Tuesday, May 15, outside Bar Agricole. And yes, that is a real, straight-from-Naples, 5,000-pound Stefano Ferrara oven, and it was no small feat building a truck that could carry it.
“This thing was fucking expensive,” Darsky said recently in a piece by 7x7 in which they laid out all the costs associated with transforming a shipping container into a glass-walled, mobile pizzeria. But given what rents in the Mission and elsewhere are going for these days, not to mention what even a modest restaurant buildout would cost, the investment may prove to be a smart one. Not only does he not have to commit to a neighborhood, but he’s created something new that the food media is clamoring to cover.
Darsky, a New York native, and his team of two — his brother takes orders and counts the money, and he’s got one sous chef helping prep the pies while he mans the 800-degree oven aboard the two-level truck space — are currently in beta-launch mode, with a two-item menu (a margherita and a white pie with rapini), and they’re trying to keep their two planned downtown locations under wraps this week while they iron out kinks — though you can probably sniff them out via Twitter if you try. Their beta pricing is kind of stupidly cheap too, at seven dollars apiece.
Look for them to be parked outside some bars, and perhaps Proxy in Hayes Valley with its built-in beer garden, in the coming months. And we can attest to Darsky’s craftsmanship — his crust is perfectly tender-crisp, his tomato sauce excellently pure, and the flavor and texture of the dough rivals Una Pizza Napoletana.
Del Popolo - @PizzaDelPopolo - Launching May 15 outside Bar Agricole, 11th and Folsom